How much should I eat?

Portions vs serving size and weight loss

Over the past two decades our portion sizes have been getting bigger and Bigger and BIGGER! It has happened gradually, so we haven’t really noticed. And if our meal is bigger, isn’t that better? Most of us are watching our dollars as well as our waistline, so if it only costs $1 more and I get so much more, isn’t that a better deal? Well, perhaps for our pocketbook. For our health however, we should really consider boxing up half and taking it home for another meal instead of eating the whole thing.

Think about this; if we eat 100 more calories per day, we will gain 10 pounds in one year! This can have far reaching effects beyond just weight or obesity, such as an increased risk for type II diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some cancers and hypertension.

Take the examples in the chart above right.

And we are not even talking about the quality of our food, just the quantity. A serving size is what is listed on a food label, a portion is the amount we choose to eat. Sometimes we eat a serving as our portion. Sometimes we eat double or triple the serving size as our portion.

If we can adjust our portion size, even without adjusting the quality of the food we eat (another topic to discuss!), we can lose weight. So, one of the first things you can begin to do today is to eat a little less than usual at every meal; you will start to feel the effects of your efforts – that is gradual weight loss.

Healthy Eating!

A good rule is to keep your portions to the serving size listed on the label, or use your hand as a guide like this:

  • 2 open hands = raw salad greens
  • 1 fist = cooked or raw veggies, fruit, cereal
  • 1 palm = meat, fish, poultry, meat alternative
  • 1 finger = cheese
  • 1 thumb = fats, oils
  • 1 cupped hand = pasta, rice, oatmeal, nuts, dried fruit

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